Repairs / Health & Safety
Reviewed 08 January 2021
In line with current Covid-19 Government advice, our repairs partner Axis, is continuing to carry out repairs in both homes and communal areas. They will also continue to carry out Gas Safety checks. You can report repairs in the usual way.
While Axis will be working to provide a full repairs service, there may be some delays or last-minute cancellations due to staff self-isolating. All cancelled appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
We understand you may be concerned about letting people into your home at this time. Please be assured that while working in your home all our contractors will use one time protective equipment and wipe down any surfaces they touch.
We appreciate your help in helping everyone to stay safe by maintaining a two metre distance (including from staff undertaking communal repairs), opening windows in rooms where work is being carried out and staying out of that room while our operatives are in there.
If you prefer for your repair not to be undertaken while we are in lockdown, please let us know as soon as possible on 0800 783 2768 so that we can allocate the appointment for another repair.
If you are self-isolating, it is essential that you let us know as we must reschedule your appointment. Only emergency or health and safety related repairs can be carried out in homes where someone is self-isolating. (In these cases, protective measures will be taken as outlined above.)
Communal Repairs and Health and Safety Activity
We continue to work with our repairs contractor Axis Europe and our Health and Safety Advisors to provide necessary health and safety activity on our estates, so far as we are able to do so working within Government Guidance and the availability of contractors to provide these services.
Our Estates Services team will continue to provide communal inspections as part of their activity and will report any health and safety issues as they are identified.
Residents who wish to report a communal repair or health and safety issue should continue to report these to Axis. The Axis team are still available to support here. However, they are receiving lots of calls so do bear with them as it might take longer to get through.
Swan, as a responsible landlord, want to make sure your home is safe for you and your family. One of the ways we do this is by undertaking an annual service of any gas boiler and/or appliances in your property that belong to Swan. The law in England requires us to undertake this service once a year.
Poorly maintained boilers can lead to serious injury and even death, so this service is vitally important.
This check is undertaken by our repairs partner Axis. They will usually contact you a month before we carry out the service to make a convenient appointment to complete the work. This service is included in your rent and any issues that are identified will be fixed once the service has been completed. At the end of the service, you should be issued with the safety certificate, though this may come to you through the post.
Most of our residents welcome this service, but we do have a small number of residents who do not keep appointments or make contact to schedule this essential piece of work. As this service is for the safety of all residents and neighbouring properties, we can not allow residents to opt out of this service check.
Where a resident refuses access or breaks multiple appointments, the Neighbourhood Team will also contact them to discuss concerns and try to make an appointment to have the service carried out. We would encourage any residents with concerns to make sure they explain what these are so we can try to find a way to reassure you.
If the service is still refused, we will then ask a district judge to grant a court order to allow the service to take place. We will only do this if a service is continually refused but we must put the safety of all residents first. If we apply for a court order we will also ask the district judge to make an order for you to pay the costs of this court application, this can be in the region of £700 when the court fees are included. We will also ask the district judge to make an award to allow future servicing to take place. If you still refuse access despite a court order, we can return to court to ask the district judge to enforce the order and again the costs will be passed onto you.
Although we want to work with you on this matter, we must make sure these essential services take place each year to ensure your safety.
We know we are living through very changed times, which have meant a number of our repairs services have been amended. However, one area we are legally required to continue is to provide the annual service for gas boilers and appliances in properties.
Our repairs partner, Axis will be continuing to contact residents to make appointments so that the annual service can be completed. Both Gas Safe and HM Government have been clear that these services should continue. (Link to Gas Safe and HM Government letter to resident and advice to residents and landlords).
In order to keep our teams and other residents safe, please let us know if you are displaying any symptoms relating to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) or any member of the household is self-isolating or shielding. The engineers will wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and are happy for you to stay in another room while the service is completed.
The guidance issued by the Government and Gas Safe indicates that where a resident is shielding and refuses access to their property, we should consider the risk of not undertaking the service. We will let you know if we assess that we should continue with the service and are happy to talk to you about how we can protect you during this service. If we assess that we can delay the service, we will make an appointment for the end of the shielding period.
However, we will continue to review this risk depending on how long shielding remains. If access is still refused and we cannot get agreement for the service, we will need to follow our process to ask a court to grant access so that the service can be undertaken. Although this is a last resort, we must protect the safety of you and your household as well as your neighbours.
Cladding & Fire Safety
We would like to reassure residents who currently have waking watch services in their building that we are working closely with our contractors and we have received assurances with them that these services will be maintained.
Where we are working to put contractual arrangements in place regarding cladding removal works, again our teams are continuing to progress these so that as soon as it is safe to do so, we are able to proceed with this work.
With regards to our programme of Fire Risk Assessment Activity and External Wall Fire Review Process (EWS Certificates) we are able to confirm that our teams continue to work with our Health and Safety provider to analyse the data already gathered and to ensure that this work can continue to progress during the current restrictions.
We are currently seeking ways to expedite the issue of EWS certificates where survey work has already been completed, but residents will note that this is dependent on the availability of qualified assessors to sign off the final certificates. We have completed 100% of external block inspections currently required and well over half of the internal inspections required but in the current situation further internal inspections are going to be difficult to arrange within Government restrictions.
External grounds maintenance works are currently permitted in line with Government Guidelines which we are following very carefully.
It is our intention to continue with grounds maintenance work while this is permitted by the Government. We have instructed our ground maintenance contractors to strictly observe Government protocols while carrying out their daily duties and to be mindful of residents.
We are now entering the winter season and works will be concentrated on shrubs and bushes as well as late grass cutting dependent on the weather.
How Is My Insurance Claim Affected By The Covid-19 Situation?
If you have an ongoing insurance claim that requires a scheduled insurance inspection and/ or scheduled non-emergency remedial works, these can go ahead under current Government guidelines. However, we do need to know if you or a member of your household or support bubble are self-isolating due to contact by the Test and Trace or because you are awaiting a result from a covid test, as any appointment to your home may need to be re-arranged to a time following the self isolation. Please do speak to us before the appointment, if this applies.
We hope you will understand that this is a necessary response to the current critical world health situation and would like to reassure you that we will continue to do our best to answer any queries you have and will keep you updated when we have further information to share.